Playing Hooky is an art

May 17, 2019

I can’t say with any definitive expertise about playing Hooky on the West Coast. I can speak with some authority about the game of the same name on the Other coast.

To wit: Playing Hooky is the “art” of skipping school and doing something more interesting. While I’ve always enjoyed school (certain notable exceptions below), from time to time other interests may rise higher on one’s consciousness.

Perhaps the classic movie on the subject is Ferris_Bueller's_Day_Off. Now I had a number of problems with some of the things depicted in this film. First of all, when they rolled up some mileage on Ferris friend’s fathers Ferrari, a 1961 Ferrari GT 250 California (priceless in value). Then attempt to “roll back” the additional miles (as the father keeps close track on every mile the car is driven) by jacking the rear wheels and running it in reverse.

This used to work. In fact, I had a 1960 VW beetle back in the day when odometers were run on a mechanical cable. No modern car works this way. So depicting this in the movie was sort of “jumping the shark”.

Re: “jumping the shark” from the TV Sitcom Happy Days. It is when you depict an event so outrageous (as when Fonzie jumped over a shark while water skiing) that it usually signifies that the series writers have reached the end of their creative energies. Time to “end” the series.

Also of interest in the movie was a young Charlie Sheen - in one of his first "notable" film roles. He plays a juvenile delinquent under arrest. I have no issue with the use of Mr. Sheen in the film – nor the part he plays but it does add a notable interest to the scene, versus if the producers had used a no name actor for this part.

At any rate, back to what “real” students do on the East Coast while playing Hooky.

One day while in grammer school, three of us skipped out of school just before lunch. In fact, instead of going to lunch, we opted to go to a local luncheonette near the school where we ordered hot dogs and an egg cream.

Note that a NY Egg Cream uses neither egg nor cream. Recipe for a NY Egg-Cream. This particular luncheonette was known to my mother as one of our favorite hangouts. So when my mom received the telephone call from the school saying we were “missing” from afternoon class, she knew exactly where to find us.  It was only two short blocks from school. BUSTED!

On another occasion, the same group of miscreants opted to skip gym and instead, go around to the front of the school. This particular public school (It was PS 98 in Brooklyn – public schools in NY City are given a number, rather than a name) was over 100 years old. So the brickwork on the front of the building was not in the best shape.

We started to kick at the bricks and were in the middle of dislodging a couple dozen when the principal just happened to walk up behind us. We were petrified fully expecting to be hauled off to juvenile delinquent lock up. Instead, the principal gave us a stern lecture and we had to serve penance by sweeping up the schoolyard after school that day.

See, unlike Ferris Buhler’s Day Off, in which neither Ferris, nor his best friend nor girlfriend ever got caught no matter how outrageous their “pranks” were, we got caught no matter what we did. That did cause all three of us to not skip school much after that.

When attending high school in Brooklyn, one day our social studies teacher (who also was the track and gym coach) corrupted us by taking us to see Elvis Presley’s latest movie during an afternoon matinee. I think he simply wanted to see the film and by taking a couple of students with him, it provided full “cover” if he got caught.

I always like to quote from my favorite screenwriter, Woody Allen (from his Academy Award winning film Annie Hall).

Those that can do

Those that can’t do teach,

And those that can’t teach teach gym.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.